offbeat

Malayalis Celebrate a Low-Key Onam Amid Pandemic

BP World Bureau | Aug 21 2021
Image credits: Facebook

Keralites are keeping away from the massive festivities for the fourth time for the auspicious occasion of Onam. The traditional harvest festival celebrated by 3.30 crore people is a closed-door, low-key affair amid the pandemic.

In 2018 and 2019, Kerala was plagued by floods. The pandemic which began in 2020 has followed Malayalis to 2021 as well. However, smaller celebrations are taking place across the state.

A resident of Tripunithura, where 10-day-long festivities usually take place, told The Indian Express that the surroundings are way too quiet for this time of the year because there is no Athachamayam.  Many are happy to be with their families after being forced to stay apart for the majority of the past 15 months. Sadya, as usual, is said to be at the centre of celebrations.

Being the Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi shared a video message in which he greeted every single Malayali living in Kerala and the rest of the world. Shashi Tharoor shared the spirit of Onam by posting a photo of him enjoying swinging. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter and said that he prays for the good health and wellbeing of everyone on the occasion of Onam. He said that the harvest festival is associated with positivity, vibrancy, brotherhood, and harmony. Home Minister Amit Shah extended greetings and said that Onam signifies peace and harmony.

President Ram Nath Kovind took the occasion to highlight the "tireless work of farmers." He wrote that it is an occasion to express gratitude to mother nature. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu recounted that Onam honours the memory of the great Kind Mahabali, who is celebrated for his nobility and generosity.